Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Conservation Institute

See Valentine on Valentine’s!

De Wain Valentine at the Getty Center with Gray Column, 2012

De Wain Valentine at the Getty Center with Gray Column. Artwork © De Wain Valentine

Artist De Wain Valentine created his own kind of love letter to the California sea and sky: Gray Column, a 3,500-pound sculpture made of polyester resin that’s twelve feet high and eight feet across.

This February 14, come visit From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine’s Gray Column and you’ll get a sweet reward—something even more than the chance to see the sculpture, explore how Valentine created a material to realize his artistic vision, and learn about the challenges of displaying and conserving a sculpture of this unique material and scale.

We’ll be passing out treats outside the exhibition, and as an added bonus: the first 50 visitors to the exhibition will get an extra surprise gift. Even sweeter, Valentine will be on hand to discuss his work from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Can’t make it? Be one of the first five people to answer this question in the comments—What’s the full name of the resin named after De Wain Valentine?—and we’ll send you a copy of the exhibition catalogue, which has great behind-the-scenes photos and includes a DVD of a 30-minute documentary on Valentine’s work.

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  1. Posted February 13, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Valentine Maskast Resin No. 1300-17


  2. Bill Strand
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    The polyester resin is called Valentine MasKast Resin No. 1300-17. The light and space works on display in the Getty Initiative shows have benn a revelation for me.

    I am hoping the Getty initiative will inspire the LAPhil to do something similar with San Francisco and San Diego for the music!

  3. Jeff
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Valentine Maskast Resin No. 1300-17

  4. Candice
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Valentine Maskast Resin No. 1300-17! I really wish I could go to this tomorrow!

  5. Posted February 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Valentine MasKast Resin No. 1300-17

    the material is sold as “Valentine MasKast resin”

  6. Maria
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Valentine Maskast Resin No. 1300-17

  7. Natalie fet
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Valentine MasKast Resin No. 1300-17.

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.

      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”


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